Ottoman Culture History | Important Figures & Establishment

Ottoman Culture History | Important Figures & Establishment

Several ethnic minorities in the Ottoman Empire, including Arabs, Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, and others. A Sultan named Mehmed V controlled the Ottoman Empire as an Islamic Caliphate, according to official records.

Osman, I founded the Ottoman Empire in 1299 as a small beylik in northern Asia Minor, just south of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople.

The empire expanded from there. It was in 1352 that the Ottomans made their first foray into Europe. They established a permanent colony in 1354 and relocated their capital to Edirne (now known as Adrianople) in 1369.

While this was going on, various small Turkic republics in Asia Minor were incorporated into the developing Ottoman sultanate, either through conquest or declarations of allegiance to the Ottoman Empire.

Most Famous Sultans

Since 1299, Ottoman Empire's sultans (Turkish: Osmanli) have ruled over the global empire, dissolved in 1922.

Due to the difficulty in differentiating fact from fiction, early Ottoman reports have appeared. “Osman I," the first "Sultan," built the empire towards the end of the 13th century.

According to Ottoman history, Osman was from the Oghuz Turks' Kay tribe. His Ottoman kingdom lasted six centuries and had 36 sultans.

The Central Powers defeated the Ottoman Empire before World War I. Consequently, Turkey was formed in 1922 after the Allies' victory in WWI, followed by Turkey's Independence war and the collapse of its Sultanate.

1.   Osman I

Osman Ghazi, was the founder of the great “Ottoman empire” and the spearhead of the Kayi tribe.

According to Ottoman narratives, a Turkish tribe known as the Kayi migrated to Anatolia from the Mongols under the command of Ertugrul (Osman's father) He committed affiliation to Anatolian Seljuk Sultan, who granted him control of the Byzantine border town of Söüt. It was only a century later that court chroniclers invented this link between Ertugrul and the Seljuk’s.

Osman's early activities are unknown, and apart from that, he dominated the area around Söüt and made raids against the Byzantine Empire. In 1301 or 1302, Osman conquered a Byzantine force sent to oppose him at the Battle of Bapheus.

Osman appears to have used the Byzantines to expand his territory while ignoring battle with his stronger Turkish neighbors. His earliest victories were against the localized Byzantine lords, "some of whom were vanquished in war, others being immersed calmly by the purchase and wedding agreements.

After his father died in 680 AH/1281 CE, Osman became Emir. From a military perspective, Osman's Beylik location influenced his victory as a conquering hero. His capital, Söüt, was on a fortified slope, midway between Constantinople and Konya.

The Ottoman Empire lasted until 1918, when it, along with the other Central Authorities, fell after the First World War. He was known as "Bey" or "Emir" instead of "Sultan" during his lifetime.

Osman has bestowed Muiuddin (Reviver of Fatih) or Fakhruddin in a 1324 endowment written in Persian (Pride of the faith).

2.   Murad I

He ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1362 to 1389. He was Orhan Gazi's and Nilüfer Hatun's son. Murad, I climbed to the coronation following the death of his elder sibling Süleyman Pasha. Murad, I captured Adrianople, renamed it Edirne, and established it as the Ottoman Sultanate's new capital in 1363.

Murad commenced his offensive in the west in the 1380s. Sofia was captured in 1385, and NiS was arrested in 1386. Meanwhile, Murad had enlarged his power in Anatolia as far as Tokat or consolidated his authority in Ankara. He also acquired colonies from the confederacies of Germiyan, Tekke, or Hamid through weddings, procurements, and liberation.

A coalition of Turkmen dominions led by the Karaman was formed to counter Ottoman extension, but it was terminated at Konya (1386).

Murad 1 sowed the seeds of some essential Ottoman imperial institutions. The managerial Army Bureaux of kaziasker, beylerbeyi, and grand vizier crystallized and were granted to men outside Osman I's family. Murad established the Janissary corps (elite soldiers) and the devşirme (child-levy) system for recruiting Janissaries.

3.   Mehmed II

Mehmed II, the Sultan Mehmed Fatih, from 1451-1481. He is a military leader who captured Constantinople and the Anatolian or Balkan provinces, which became the Ottoman Empire's heart for the next four centuries.

He became an Ottoman Sultan by spearheading the 1453 embargo of Constantinople and attempted to expand the empire into the Balkans. As a result of his westward expansion, he became known as Kayser-i Rum throughout the Eastern Roman Empire.

After his father died, Mehmed ascended the throne again in Edirne (February 18, 1451). He couldn't stop thinking about capturing Constantinople. His ambitions worried Europe and Byzantium, which remembered his earlier reign.

His power was not solidified within the empire. But he didn't waste time penalizing the Janissaries who had threatened him over prolonging the usual accession gift. But he bolstered the military force that would carry him to subsequent conquests.

He was meticulous in his strategic and military preparations for the encapsulation of Constantinople. He made peace deals with Venice and Hungary to keep them neutral. He spent 1452 constructing the castle of Boazkesen (later Rumeli Hisar), a fleet of 31 longships, or big caliber cannon.

During the battle of Constantinople (April 6–29, 1453), two military parliaments aired contrary opinions.  On the day of the attack, Mehmed II personally commanded the cannon breaching techniques.

He promptly turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque, leading a procession into the city. Then he founded charities and provided the mosque 14,000 gold ducats annually.

4.   Bayezid II

Bayezid ll ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1481 until 1512 as Mehmed II's eldest son and successor. Selim I succeeded Bayezid II in consolidating Ottoman rule and ending a rebellious Safavid uprising before abdicating the throne to his son.

Bayezid II was a religious Man and pious Muslim who strictly followed the Qur'an and Islamic law precepts.

During his reign, a large portion of the state's revenue was spent on constructing mosques, universities, hospitals, and bridges. He also advocated for jurists, scholars, and poets both inside and outside the Ottoman Empire.


5.   Süleyman I

Sulleyman the Gorgeous, Suleyman I and divine law, Turk Süleyman Muhteşem and Kanuni (born in November 1494–April 1495–died in the region of Szigetwar, Hungary on September 5/6, 1566, etc.). Fr. Sulleyman the Magnificent, Süleyman I.

He was a bold military leader who oversaw the development of what would become known as the Ottoman Empire's most characteristic achievements.

His huge viziers (chief ministers) brahim, Rüstem, or Mehmed Sokollu were among the most capable administrators and statesmen Süleyman had. Among the notables were Ab al-Sud, Kemalpaşazade, the renowned Turkish poet Bâkî, or the designer Sinan.

Mosques, arches, aqueducts, and other government works were built by Süleyman to defend the Christian lands he conquered.

In short, Süleyman finished changing Constantinople from a Byzantine metropolis into Istanbul, a wonderful center for a powerful Turkish or religious kingdom.

6.   Selim III

From 1789 to 1807, Ottoman Sultan Selim III ruled. Despite his reputation as a wise ruler, his cousin Mustafa was crowned Mustafa IV after being deposed and arrested by the Janissaries. Selim was later murdered by a group of assassins.

Many of Sultan Selim III's writings were hung in mosques and convents, as he was a great lover of literature. He was conversant in both Arabic and Persian. He was a devout Catholic and a staunch patriot. Poet and musician, he had a lot of talent. In addition to being a musician, he was also a composer.

Aside from that, he was a big fan of the fine arts. As a monarch, Selim was an innovator and a modernizer. Ottoman Empire was going to be modernized by him. At his appointment, his people showed their appreciation for him and were highly optimistic about his administrations' performance in power. Turkish citizens believed that this young and charismatic ruler would bring back the glory days of their realm.

In 1807, Selim III abdicated the throne to Mustafa and died a year and two months later.

During the Alemdar Pasha Events, the new Sultan's troops killed him. Laleli Mosque, where his father's tomb is located, is where he was laid to rest. It was no secret that Selim III was a huge fan of literature, especially poetry. In particular, he produced powerful verses regarding the Russian occupation of Crimea.

7.   Abdülhamid II

Muhammad II was indeed the 34th Sultan and last ruler of the Ottoman Empire before it dropped apart. Hamidian Era is the name given to his reign as Ottoman Sultan.

As soon as the French left Tunisia and the British took over Egypt in 1882, Abdülhamid looked to the Germans for help. In return, Germany was granted permission to build the Baghdad Railway (1899). The crushing of the Armenian insurrection (1894) and the unrest in Crete (1897) led to another European intervention.

Abdülhamid consolidated his absolute dominance within the empire with Pan-Islamism and galvanized Muslim opinion outside of the kingdom, which caused issues for European colonial powers with their Muslim settlements. Financed by international Muslim contributions, his policy has been expressed in the Hejaz Rail project.

The main domestic initiatives in education were: 18 specialized schools were established; the Universities of Istanbul, Darülfünun, was established in 1900; the empire also had a system of secondary, primary, and military schools. In addition to advancements in railways, telegraphs, etc., restructuring did take place in the Department of justice.

Abdülhamid's dictatorial rule and European engagement in the Balkans sparked the Young Turks' military revolution in 1908 due to conflicts. When Abdülhamid was deposed in April 1909, his brother Mehmed V has crowned Sultan in place of Abdülhamid.

8.   Enver Paşa

He was an Ottoman military officer, rebel, and convicted war criminal. He was one-third of the dictatorial triumvirate known as the "Three Pashas" in the Ottoman Empire, ruled by the Three Pashas.

Enver Paşa was the hero of the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, Ottoman General, and Commander-in-Chief and was an essential part of the Ottoman bureaucracy from 1913 until 1918.

In favor of Germany, he played an essential role in Ottoman participation in the First World War. Following the loss of the Ottomans in 1918, he tried to rouse the Turks of Central Asia to fight the Soviets.

He was a prominent organizer of the Young Turkish Revolution, and he joined General Mahmoud Sevket. The Army of Delivery of the latter proceeded to topple Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Ottoman rule in 1517 in Constantinople.

In 1911, when a war between Italy and the Ottoman Empire broke out, he commanded the Ottoman defense in Libya. He was not appointed head of Benghazi until 1912. (now in modern Libya).

Enlargement of the Empire

In 1299, after the dissolution of several Turkish tribes, the Ottomans Empire was established. The empire has extended to include much of modern Europe.

It became one of the biggest, strongest, and longest-lasting empires in the world. At its apex, the Ottoman Empire covered the Arab Peninsula, North Africa, and Turkey.

In 1595 it covered 7 million square kilometers. In the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire fell, albeit a piece of it became Turkey.

Empire Growth

This empire was established in the late 12th century after the Seljuk Turkish dynasty collapsed. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Turks ruled the other former empire territories. They dominated all the different Turkish dynasties in the late 1400s.

The Ottoman Empire's early leadership aimed for enlargement. The earlier Ottoman expansion was led by Osman I, Orkhan, or Murad I. Bursa, an Ottoman capital since 1326, collapsed in 1326. After several significant triumphs in the late 1300s, Europe started to be ready for Ottoman extension.

Mehmed I restored Ottoman sovereignty after military failures in the early 1400s. They took Constantinople in 1453.

During the Great Development period, the Ottoman Empire spanned 10 different Europe and the Middle East. Due to the other states' weaknesses, inefficiencies, and military structure and tactics.

In 1517, the Ottomans overthrew Mamluk in Egypt and Syria, 1518, 1526, 1541 in Algiers, and 1541 in Hungary. In the 1500s, parts of Greece also were the Ottoman Empire.

  • Sulayman I took control in 1535, giving Turkey more power than previous rulers.
  • Sulayman I restructured the Turkish judiciary and expanded Turkish culture.
  • After Sulayman I's death, the empire's troops were defeated at Lepanto in 1571.

Ottoman Empire, despite its decline, was one of the world's most influential and affluent empires. The empire's prosperity can be related to many components, considering well-organized armed services and a centralized political framework.

The Ottoman Empire is one of the most essential empires because of these early, influential rulers.


Turkish Empire's History

When Mehmed II, the Leader, led the Ottoman Turks to conquer the Byzantine Empire's capital, Constantinople, in 1453, it was the beginning of the end. The Byzantine Empire's 1,000-year rule came to an end. When Sultan Mehmed Fatih renamed the city Istanbul, he declared it to be Ottoman Empire's capital.

Kanuni Sultan Suleiman

As the tenth or oldest usurping Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman I was known in his West homeland as Magnificent and Suleiman the Lawgiver Kanuni.

For a century, Suleiman was the Ottoman Empire's economic, military, and ideological king. Before being stopped in Vienna in 1529, Suleiman himself led Ottoman military forces to start taking Belgrade, Rhodes, and much of Hungary.

During his war with the Safavids, he conquered most Middle East and North Africa, including Algeria. During his reign, the Ottoman navy dominated the Mediterranean, Red Ocean, and the Persian Gulf. At least 25 million people lived in the Ottoman caliphate during his reign.

Suleiman broke the Ottoman rules and married Hürrem Sultan, an Orthodox Christian of Ruthenian ancestry who transferred to Islam or was known in the West as Roxelana because of her red hair.

Suleiman's son Selim II replaced him in 1566 after forty-six years of power. Mehmed, Suleiman's other son, died of smallpox in 1543, and Mustafa was strangled in 1553 by the Sultan's request.

After a rebellion, Suleiman had his other son Bayezid murdered along with his four sons. After his death, researchers prefer "crisis and adaptation" to decline. Suleiman's death was a turning point in the Ottoman legacy.

After Suleiman, the empire saw substantial political, institutional, and economic reforms, known as the Ottoman Transformation.

Ottoman Culture History


In the Ottoman Empire, each millet was responsible for establishing a school system to serve its members.  As a result, education was generally separated along ethnic and religious lines: only a small number of non-Muslims attended universities for Muslim pupils, and the reverse was true.

The majority of organizations that did serve all ethnic and spiritual groups did so through the use of French or other languages as a medium of instruction.


Epics, stories, folktales, fables, proverbs, anecdotes, and minstrel music were derived from folk literature. The Book of Dede Korkut (Dede meaning Grandfather) was the most famous Anatolian epic.

A highly formalized and symbolic art genre, Divan poetry. A plethora of symbolic connotations and inter-relationships—both similitude and opposition—were inherited from the Persian poetry that encouraged it.

Until the 19th century, Ottoman prose lagged behind contemporary Divan poetry. A rhyme between each adjective and noun in a sequence of terms, such as a phrase, was part of the purpose.

However, there was a verse custom in the culture of the time, albeit non-fictitious. A collection of extraordinary stories written in 1796 but not publicized until 1867 by Giritli Ali Aziz Efendi.

Vartan Pasha, an Armenian, published the first novel in the Ottoman Empire. The Story of Akabi (Turkish: Hikyayesi) was published in 1851 in Turkish with an Armenian script.


The Ottoman Empire had many newspapers.

The first Ottoman publications were controlled by foreigners who aspired to spread propaganda about the West. Printing began in September 1795, while Raymond de Verninac-Saint-ambassador Maur's in Pera (now Beyolu).

Until March 1796, it appears to have been titled "Bulletin de Nouvelles. Its primary objective was to enlighten foreigners living in Istanbul about post-Revolutionary French politics. Hence it had minimal impact on locals.

The first Turkish-language newspaper appeared in 1830 and was published in Cairo, Egypt. In addition, it was available in a Turkish-Greek bilingual form.


Persian, Byzantine, Greek, and Islamic influences shaped Ottoman architecture. During the Starting period (early Ottoman architecture), Ottoman paintings explored creative ideas.

The Empire's expansion became the structural period of the framework when the Ottoman design was at its best.

During the immobility, the Ottoman framework departed from this form. Western European ornate styles such as Baroque, Rococo, Empire, and others influenced it during the Tulip Era. The mosque is the focal point of Ottoman architecture. An essential part of civilization, city planning, and social life.

The Ottoman-style can be seen in food pantries, religious institutions, hospitals, Turkish baths, and graves.


The 16th century saw the golden age of Ottoman jewelry, which used materials like glass, bone, wood, leather, and metals. It is not only for jewelry but also for books, weapons, and other items.

Ottoman gemstones reflected the prevailing tastes in natural motives. As stone types and mines expanded, so they’ve done jewelry production. As early as the 18th century, Western fashions widened the scope of jewelry.

  1. Aigrettes were utilized by the Sultan and some of the most prominent Harem women. It was seen as a symbol of authority because of its design and aesthetics. Aigrettes were given to deserving persons by the Sultans throughout their rule.
  2. Ottoman rings crusted with costly stones like emeralds and other semi-precious gemstones.
  3. Ottoman Earrings have been worn for hundreds of years. Their sizes and shapes range from a little too large. For Ottoman women's hairstyles and adornments, these stones had significant importance.
  4. Ottoman Bracelets: Ottoman women wore gold, silver, and ivory bracelets, all of which were adorned with jewels. Sultan's wives or newlyweds wore flowery or geometric Ottoman bracelets embellished with diamonds, rubies, turquoise, and emeralds. There is a wide variety of bracelet styles women favored, like the twisted type.
  5. Pins were an essential piece of jewelry for women's These jewelry pieces were worn directly on the head, and they were also sometimes worn as dress brooches.
  6. Long necklaces were looped on long gold or silver chains or pearl strings. Rich women wear such necklaces.

Decorative arts

Ottoman miniatures, used to adorn manuscripts or albums, were greatly influenced by Persian art, Byzantine decoration, and painting.

The Topkapi Palace had a Greek institution of artists, the Nakkashane-i-Rum, and a Persian institution, Nakkashane-i-Irani. Surname-i Hümayun (Imperial Festival Books) were photo and text galleries that documented Ottoman festivals.

The Ottoman Book Arts included bookbinding or paper pinwheels. Throughout the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan or the tribunal administration appointed decorated and engraved manuscripts. These manuscripts for Topkapi Palace were created by artists from Nakkashane, a studio of miniature and illumination artists.

Books of all faiths have the potential to be enlightened. Album levha sheets also included illuminated tughra calligraphy, Islamic writings, poetry or proverb lyrics, and artistic artwork.

Music and performing arts

The elite learned conventional music. For example, Selim III's works are still performed today. Ottoman classical music evolved from Byzantine, Armenian, Arabic, and Persian sounds. It is composed of harmonic units called usul (Western sounds) and dynamic units called makam (identical to Western harmonic dimensions).

Many different types of musical instruments are used: Anatolian/Middle Asian instruments (saz), Middle Eastern (tanbur/kanun/ney), and Western instruments. 

Because of a geographical and historical split between the royalty or the rest of the empire, the Ottoman Empire developed 2 different musical styles.


A typical culinary shared by most of the population irrespective of nationality, Ottoman culinary is culinary of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the regional capitals.

Chefs from all around the Empire came to the Imperial Palace kitchens to mix it with different minerals. The recipes spread from the palace kitchens to the general population through Ramadan practices and cooking at the Pashas' Yale, and then to society.

Ayran, pita flour, ricotta, baklava, lahmacun, moussaka, yuvarlak, köfte/kefta, börek/boureki, rak/rakia, tsipouro, and many more were all popular dishes in the Ottoman history.